FWPS Superintendent Rob Neu receives pay raise

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) Superintendent Rob Neu clicks to the next slide of his presentation at the Federal Way Chamber
Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) Superintendent Rob Neu clicks to the next slide of his presentation at the Federal Way Chamber's membership luncheon Jan. 9, 2013, at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club.
— image credit: Courtesy of Ed Streit

Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu's base salary will be $240,000 for the 2013-14 school year, an approximate increase of $42,000 from the base salary of $198,000 he made for the last two school years, according to documents obtained by The Mirror.

The move was approved unanimously by the Federal Way School Board on May 28, 2013. Neu's pay increase went into effect July 1, and the terms of this current contract are set to expire in 2016.

According to the most recent statewide data for 2012-13, Neu's increased base salary would make him one of the highest paid superintendents in the state, behind only Seattle and Kent. Those two districts' superintendents made $269,999 and $240,000 respectively, as their base salaries last year.

While the pay increase may seem dramatic, it does appear to put Neu on equal footing with the superintendents of other large districts in the state. FWPS is the eighth largest district in the state, serving 21,554 students across 38 schools and employing almost 2,600 people.

In comparison, Kent School District serves approximately 27,000 students across 40 schools and employs approximately 3,400 people, making Federal Way's neighbor in the valley the fourth largest district in the state.

Spokane Public Schools is the second largest district in the state, and serves approximately 29,000 students across 47 schools while employing approximately 3,200 people.

Neu, in an email exchange with The Mirror, indicated that the pay raise was a recognition of his leadership. For districts of comparable sizes, the raise is in line with what's seen throughout the state, he said.

"The board conducted an extensive review of my performance and also compared compensation levels at peer districts," he wrote. "My understanding is my salary is in the mid-point of compensation for superintendents of districts similar in size and demographics to Federal Way and consistent with how we compensate all of our employee groups."

Neu did note that he couldn't speak to the school board's decisions in his contract negotiations. Regardless, the district's leader indicated he's ready to continue making FWPS an innovative leader.

"I can say I am very excited about the opportunity to continue working with the district and look forward to building on the accomplishments we have achieved collectively in Federal Way," he wrote.

In 2010, Neu was hired as superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools. He previously served as superintendent for three-plus years at the Waterford School District in the Detroit metropolitan area.

"Our hope is that we can continue the work started by (former superintendent) Tom Murphy with the very best leadership, not just from a local standpoint, but from a national standpoint. Rob is a nationally sought-after superintendent. While this raise cannot compete on a national level, it's competitive locally, and assures that we'll have his leadership for the next three years. There is no doubt that this is in the best interests of the students of Federal Way Public Schools," Tony Moore said in a prepared statement.

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